Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The "Next" Generation

Portrait of Two Children at Carnival Time.
Joseph Dorffmeister, 1797.
Oil on canvas.

A picture I have never liked.
Perhaps because of the posture of trepidation.
Perhaps because the sitters' heads seem out of proportion to their bodies.

Children, as we know, at various times and places, were viewed in various ways - as free labour, as commodities in the social marketplace, as incomplete adults, as dynastic pawns, as useless mouths and inconvenient urchins.
If you examine the overall attitude of the publishing industry, you may have noted that some things do not change.
We're still viewed as kids.
Some truth in that view too.
Some of us are mewling infants; some, precocious brats. We're careless, noisy, and downright unmanageable at times.
We've all noticed the developmentally challenged, the class clown, the teacher's pet, the privileged snot, the brown-noser - may he never sell through - the whiz kid and the squeak.
We're sometimes treated like kids by established writers too, according to their nature.
Some will go out of their busy way, though they would prefer to flirt with the hot guys - to offer a bit of help and an encouraging squeeze, like an affectionate older sibling.
Others express the opinion we should have all been drowned at birth.
Some clearely view us as prey, to be messed with and abused with sadistic glee. We do hope they will get theirs - caught in a dark alley by the Reviewer Gang or dropped from a high platform.
Others view us with studied indifference.
Some people like kids. Some do not.
Now, give me back my crayons or I'll punch you in the mouth.


kmfrontain said...

LOL. Can I borrow your gold crayon? I love gold crayons.

Ric said...

You keep coloring outside the lines. Can't you follow instructions?
Sky is blue - not green. Is there something wrong with your eyes?
Do not eat your crayons - it will make you sick.
Don't push down so hard - you need to keep them sharp.

Yeah, Bernita, been there, done that.

Bernita said...

You can borrow my whole set, Karen!

Get the feeling you're stuck forever in elementary school, Ric?

December Quinn said...

Heh heh. Care to tattle?

Yes, there definitely is a feeling of childishness around a lot of online goings-on. Sad, really...and even sadder when the popular kids are still fighting so hard to keep the other kids down and "out".

Bailey Stewart said...

I've never left ...

Actually, I was the invisible child, the one that blended in with the environment, noticed by no one in particular.

Bernita said...

"Care to tattle?"

I don't hear much, December, I'm usually in the corner with my nose in a book. A lot goes right over my head.

Bailey, those are the ones who usually shine later.

Jaye Wells said...

Does this mean we get to take naps again?

Savannah Jordan said...

Amen, Bernita! My favourite childish quote: "I'm taking my toys and going home."

God bless the child :)

Scott said...

I think the children in this portrait are portrayed in such a way that supports what you have said, that they were regarded as little adults. Plop those heads on adult bodies and they wouldn't look out of place.

spyscribbler said...

Oh, but I like that picture! It's like that excited and thrilled trepidation before climbing onto a roller coaster!

Hah! So true about children! What a great way to explain it! But I look, and it seems that even in the published authors' clubs, there's a fair amount of, er, levelling going on.

Bernita said...

Only in kindergarten, Jaye.

A writer still has that option, I suppose, Savannah.

Yes, Scott, he did paint them almost as dwarves rather than children.

To me they look frightened, Spy, and not in a good way.
At one time and in some jurisdictions, schools streamed students into academic, shop, business, home economics, etc., I imagine the same thing occurs in the post-published clubs.

raine said...

I wrote my required pages last night.
Really I did.
The dog ate them.

Anonymous said...
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Bernita said...


JLB said...

Hee hee... we must be on a common wavelength today Bernita! :D

Julie said...

I agree with your description of the painting -- trepidation is a good word. Although the sideways glance in the brother's eyes makes me wonder what he's thinking. "Hey sis, I'm going to pummel you when we get done posing here." Not that this relates to writing/publishing much. Although there may be some pummeling going on there too...

Robyn said...

It looked to me like the sister is keeping the brother from escaping because she knows she'll get blamed if he's not in the picture.

Tattling...the younger sibling's only weapon.

Bernita said...

Hee, J, I still play with bubbles!

Or she's going to pound me, Julie!
Quite a bit of school yard brawling, they claim.

"Stand still, or I'll do you, ya little creep," Robyn?

Erik Ivan James said...

To me, the little brother is trying to convince big sister to do something they shouldn't be doing (i.e. swipe the pie off the window sill). She wants to too, but knows it is mischef so is holding him back...but, she is thinking about it.

anna said...

some kids are likeable
some are not

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Bernita said...

Interesting imagination, Erik.

True, Anna. Sometimes they clean up nicely; sometimes, not.

Shesawriter said...

This was priceless, Bernita. I can definitely feel where you're coming from! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, well said, and I am smiling, which says a lot, lately. Let me go find my colors.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...I don't mind being looked upon as a 'kid' by an established writer. It's the ones that look down their noses at anyone who doesn't write what they considered literary fiction, that gets me!

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Bernita said...

Hee, Tanya. Thank you.

A gold star for you, Melinda.

Those are the snots, Bonnie.

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